The book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, by Stephen Covey has left an indelible mark on me since reading it a couple years ago. At the time, we were reading the book as part of our customer-service book club.
Habit number seven is “Sharpen the Saw.” The basic principle is that unless you take time to invest in your physical, mental and spiritual wellbeing, your “saw” will become dull and ineffective. In a day and age where we can literally get home from work, a bag of fast food in hand, and plop down on the couch to binge watch episode after episode of our favorite television shows on Netflix, it’s likely there are a lot of dull saws out there.
Does your work feel completely uninspired? Has your career hit a plateau? Does your imagination feel more like a mental blockade? Allow me to share three ways I have learned to keep my mind sharp in recent years.
1. Read a Book
Any form of reading is a fantastic exercise for your mind, but I highly recommend reading that’s targeted toward personal and professional growth. Since starting Communicate Better Blog, this has been a major point of emphasis for us. Take a look at our current book reading list! Yours doesn’t have to be as focused on customer service as ours is. As I’ve committed to regularly reading, I find myself branching out and learning about other business topics that have all of a sudden become interesting to me.
2. Read a Blog
Blogs are another amazing way to sharpen your saw. With a quick Google search you can find tons of blogs relevant to your interests. And with Twitter, you can search hashtags and find links to blog posts on those topics as well. For example, as a customer service professional, I search #custserv (Customer Service) and #cx (Customer Experience) all of the time.
You will quickly discover that experts are freely and openly sharing their wisdom. It’s all there for you to consume and will prove valuable to your personal and professional development. For those who don’t relish the idea of sitting in a crowded room and networking, you can connect with others in your fields of interest without leaving your chair. The best part about it is that so many of these thought leaders want to have a conversation with you!
3. Listen to a Book
My final and most recent discovery has been audio books. No time for reading in your busy day? I’ll bet you have a daily commute, and a vehicle equipped with either a CD player or auxiliary jack. Audio books are a great way to pass the time during your commute and make it meaningful. They don’t have to cost money either! I found out that our public library has several thousand audio books to choose from.
These are just a few ways to keep your business mind sharp. Be sure not to neglect proper rest, exercise, a good diet, and prayer or meditation as well. I firmly believe that all of these things work together to help you be your very best.
What are your favorite ways to sharpen your saw? What good books are you currently reading? Leave us a comment or share with us on Twitter and Facebook.